McIlroy defends Canadian Open PGA title

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Rory McIlroy has won the Canadian Open and given the PGA Tour a strong response to the start of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

McIlroy closed with an eight-under 62 on Sunday to win a wild race to the finish with Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.

"I feel like it's getting tougher and tougher to win on the PGA Tour, " McIlroy said.

"Just look at the two guys that I played with today. I went out with a lead and had to shoot eight-under par to get the job done. So the depth of talent on this tour is really, really impressive. And going up against guys like J.T. and Tony and coming out on top, that's something to feel really good about."

McIlroy had his first title defence on the PGA Tour, even if he had to wait for it. He won golf's fourth-oldest national open in 2019 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, only for the the COVID-19 pandemic to cancel the next two editions.

Thomas pushed him to the end at St. George's Golf & Country Club, and the tournament effectively ended on the 17th hole. McIlroy and Thomas were tied and in the rough. McIlroy hit a wedge that rolled out to tap-in range, while Thomas missed a 10-foot par putt, a two-shot swing. Thomas closed with a pair of bogeys and still shot 64.

Northern Irishman McIlroy finished at 19-under 261 for a two-stroke victory.

Finau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 64 to finish second while Thomas was third at 14 under. Justin Rose matched the tournament and course record with a 60 - with three eagles and three bogeys - to tie for fourth with Sam Burns (65) at 14 under.

"I'm totally disappointed, because you know what's at stake, for sure," Rose said.

"I never shot 59 before, so it would have been a lovely footnote on the week."

Cameron Smith (71) was the pick of the Australian's in a tie for 48th at even, while Brett Drewitt (71) finished one over and Cameron Percy (72) two over.

The victory was the second for McIlroy this season, adding to his victory in Las Vegas last October in the CJ Cup. He won for the 21st time on the PGA Tour.

"This is a day I'll remember for a long, long time," McIlroy said.

"Twenty-one PGA Tour wins, one more than somebody else."

It was a dig at Greg Norman, who had 20 career tour wins.

Norman, who runs the controversially Saudi-funded LIV Golf, said in a Washington Post story that McIlroy had been "brainwashed" by the PGA Tour. McIlroy has been one of the strongest opponents of the LIV Golf series and spoke out against the money being paid to players like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

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